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Pat Summitt chewed me out (and I lived to talk about it)

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Like hundreds – maybe thousands – of East Tennesseans, I knew Pat Summitt. I was not in her inner circle and we didn’t hang out, but I wrote feature stories about her and her teams for more than a decade, for a couple of different publications including this one, and I liked her the from the first time we spoke. Didn’t everybody?

That’s why I’ll never forget the time she took me to the woodshed.

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Planning for the future of East Knox County

Sandra Clark

Residents of East Knox County gathered Sunday at the Carter Senior Center to share ideas about the future of their community. It was a convivial group, the mood lightened by giant scoops of Cruze Farm ice cream (peach and vanilla).

Their ideas will be posted online at, where others may also comment. Organizers will return in October with a plan.

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Steve Hall gets Haslam money bomb

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

Despite never being a favorite of the Republican establishment, Steve Hall served two terms on City Council and two terms in the state House and was putting up other people’s signs for years before he ever ran for office. Closely associated with former state Sen. Stacey Campfield, Hall has always been an outsider, perhaps best illustrated by his 2006 run against incumbent Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale. He didn’t win, but he gave Ragsdale a brisk and unexpected challenge.

The Campfield relationship plus some missteps during Hall’s second House term – like landing on the wrong side of a controversy over changing Middlebrook Pike’s scenic highway designation at the behest of a new Tennova hospital facility and seeming to entertain conversation about selling Lakeshore Park – were a gift to his challenger, Martin Daniel, who ended up taking the seat in 2014.

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City Council politics

Victor Ashe
Government/Politics columnist

Vice Mayor Duane Grieve only has 17 months left on City Council, but next year could be a busy one for him should Rogero vacate the mayor’s office by accepting a position in a possible Hillary Clinton administration. If that happened, Grieve would immediately become interim mayor for 10 days until City Council meets to set the date of the special election to elect a new mayor for the unexpired term and to pick a longer-term interim mayor, which could be Grieve or one of the other eight council members.

In this case, there would be a special citywide election to fill the post as more than 10 months are left in the Rogero term (it runs to December 2019). Both council members Marshall Stair and George Wallace are considered potential candidates. Others mentioned include former mayoral aide Eddie Mannis, current mayoral aide Indya Kincannon and Alvin Nance, former head of KCDC. Grieve, too, is mentioned.

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Horn or Pelot in District 5?

Betty Bean
Government/Politics columnist

If the 5th District school board runoff had been held last fall, the debate would have started (and pretty much ended) with the question, “James McIntyre: for him or against him?”

The controversial former superintendent changed the conversation when he announced in December that he was stepping down from his $228K (plus perks) job. But underlying issues still remain.

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